St Helens Council’s Young People’s Drug and Alcohol Team (YPDAAT) is calling on parents and guardians to demonstrate their commitment towards keeping young people safe from the effects of underage drinking and alcohol misuse.
Light evenings, good weather, school holidays and long weekends can sometimes be a key factor in the increase of alcohol consumption by many, including young people, which can potentially cause harm to their own health by developing diseases such as pancreatitis – as well as others through anti-social behaviour.
With this in mind, YPDAAT is encouraging parents and guardians to show their support by following the ACE pledge which advises parents to ‘Avoid’ giving alcohol to children (especially if aged under 15); to be ‘Clued’ up about their children’s whereabouts at all times – and ‘Educate’ their children about the risks of alcohol.
Sue Forster, Director of Public Health for St Helens Council, said: “Alcohol use among young people can lead to a number of unplanned, unwanted and serious consequences – with many young people telling us that they have done something that they have regretted after drinking alcohol.
“We want to raise awareness of the advice given by Chief Medical Officers – that an alcohol free childhood is always the best option. We want to get as many parents as possible to sign the pledge and demonstrate how ACE they are when it comes to educating their children about underage drinking and alcohol misuse. “
As part of this year’s campaign, YPDAAT are supporting St Helens Council’s Safer Communities ‘It’ll Cost You’ campaign to highlight the costly impact of proxy sales, a term used to describe the purchase of alcohol on behalf of children.
The value of alcohol misuse in the UK is estimated to cost around £12b each year, taking up valuable NHS and local authority resources to deal with the aftermath of youths drinking excessive amounts of alcohol; from carrying out stomach pumps to cleaning up parks and open spaces which are often the preferred choice for youths to hang out.
“If you suspect a licenced premises of selling alcohol to under 18s, or to an adult supplying under 18s – report them,” Ms Forster added.
“St Helens is ranked the third highest in the country for under 18 alcohol- specific hospital admissions which is a statistic public health is working hard to reduce. To help, we need adults and shop owners to support our campaign by ensuring alcohol purchased is for over 18’s and not for anyone under the age of 18.
“I would urge the general public, including parents, to be vigilant and not feel intimidated into purchasing alcohol for anyone underage. Sales of alcohol to or for anyone underage could result in a criminal conviction, hefty fine, and the loss of a licence which is simply not worth the risk.”
To make your pledge, visit: www.sthelens.gov.uk/ypdaat
If you are worried about a young person’s drinking and need advice about what to do, call YPDAAT on: 01744 675 605 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
If you witness a proxy sale happening, contact St Helens Council Environmental Health on 01744 676299 or email email@example.com with as much information as possible.
For more information on the It’ll Cost You campaign visit www.safersthelens.org.uk/ready-2-report/underage-alcohol-sales/